your worst extreme summer story and are truck rodeos becoming an endangered species
March 22, 2012
March 22, 2012
I’ve recently heard that Purolator has cancelled the in-house truck rodeo this year and that makes me a little bit sad. Even though Puro never took part in the Ontario or National championships, this was a chance to compare skill levels among drivers and promote a safety-oriented culture among professional drivers. I’m not sure why it was cancelled, as it can’t be that expensive to carry out. It’s a case of setting up a few pylons, and disconnecting a few things under the hood to see if the drivers could find them during the pre-trip. But I’m pretty sure that most drivers weren’t that interested in coming in on their day off and participating. Interest has been lagging in recent years and the company dropped the step van division from the format years ago. Now they’ve dropped the competition entirely.
That said, the Ontario championships are still going strong, although they’ve dropped the small truck division too. But last year’s provincial championships at the Mohawk raceway saw about 85 participants–all winners and runners up from regional competitions. This was down from about 100 entries the previous year but is still a healthy group. And some companies get behind this big time, i.e. Tim Horton’s, Fed Ex, etc. This year’s championships are set to go at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, and my only regret is that I won’t be able to go head to head against some FedEx tractor driver for all the glory. With more than 30 years driving semis I must be pretty good, but don’t have any way to measure it. Are Truck Rodeos a good idea? How can we make them relevant to today’s commercial drivers?
On another note, I’m compiling a feature on summer driving conditions and stresses and how to best deal with them. I’d like to have input from drivers across the spectrum, not just dry van haulers. I’m also looking for gravel haulers, tanker pilots, deck drivers and bulk haulers, heavy duty tow truck drivers, car and speciality haulers, those delivering chemicals, shunters, and anyone else in the industry. Stresses include extreme heat, summer storms, holiday drivers, etc. What’s your worst summer trucking experience and how did you deal with it? What are your strategies to deal with summer conditions? What works and what doesn’t? When the going gets tough, the tough get going. I’m reminded of the commercial where this fellow hauling beer has to stop making out with his girlfriend because the trailer’s getting too hot. Let me know your thoughts, Harry
Harry Rudolfs has worked as a dishwasher, apprentice mechanic, editor, trucker, foreign correspondent and taxi driver. He's written hundreds of articles for North American and European journals and newspapers, including features for the Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Life and CBC radio.
With over 30 years experience in the trucking industry he's hauled cars, steel, lumber, chemicals, auto parts and general freight as well as B-trains. He holds an honours BA in creative writing and humanities, summa cum laude. All posts by Harry Rudolfs